By Bala Ajiya, Damaturu

In July, some unknown gunmen; widely believed to be members of Boko Haram, stormed Government Secondary School, Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, and unleashed terror, killing 12 students and two teachers.

Barely two weeks after, some gunmen visited Government Secondary School, Mamudo, in Potiskum Local Government Area of the state, killing 33 students and a teacher in an overnight attack.

Rattled  by the dastardly act, Governor Gaidam, who visited the  Mamudo school to see things for himself, condemned the attack, describing it as callous and barbaric after which government decided to close down all schools in Yobe.

Scene of the mayhem in Damaturu. Photo: sahara reporters
Scene of the mayhem in Damaturu. Photo: sahara reporters

The decision to close down the schools was to give government, in collaboration with security agencies, the opportunity to take measures to prevent further attacks by insurgents.

One of the decisions said to have been taken was to deploy security operatives to schools in the state as well as fence the schools.

Barely three months after, precisely 29 September, the schools were reopened, gunmen, also believed to be Boko Haram members, stormed the College of Agriculture, Gujba, some 50 kilometres away from Damaturu, and killed scores of students in an attack that lasted several hours.

The next day, the Red Cross Society of Nigeria, in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Commission, was busy taking the corpses of students killed in the attack to hospital.

The medical director of the Damaturu Specialist Hospital revealed that 40 corpses were brought there.

A day after, one of the five students undergoing treatment from gunshot injuries sustained during the attack died while one other corpse was found in the bush close to the school, bringing the death toll to 42.

While the attack came to some people as a surprise, it was not so to many others notwithstanding the measures taken by the state government.

When the Yobe governor visited Damaturu Specialist Hospital to sympathise with those who sustained injuries in the attack as well as to the families of those killed, he was sad that there was intimidating military presence in Yobe but with little impact. He charged security agents to redouble their efforts in the fight against insurgents.

“We as a government have been giving necessary support to security agents but, sadly, these insurgents still operate at will. There is the urgent need for security agents to step up efforts in their surveillance and tactics in the fight against unnecessary attacks,” Gaidam said.

Since the insurgents shifted their attacks to schools, the latest on the College of Agriculture, Gujba seems to be the most devastating going by the number of deaths which is more than the previous two put together.

At the moment, all primary and secondary schools in Yobe have been reopened with normal academic activities picking up. But the fear of the people is that insurgents can still launch attack on any school considering the fact that the schools are yet to be fenced and security personnel not deployed

There are nagging questions. Why have security agents’ failed to stop the attacks on schools in the state? Has government failed in the provision of support that will aid security agents to curtail the attacks on innocent people?

The insurgents, apart from attacking schools, are shifting their focus to innocent people along the highways. The Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, of recent, has become vulnerable to attacks as insurgents invade the road and kill travellers.

The Boko Haram sect has vowed to continue launching attacks on schools in Yobe. With the attacks on three schools in the state, the number of students’ enrolment was said to have reduced drastically as parents withdrawn their wards from schools.

Many students of Yobe State University, it was learnt, in the wake of the insurgency in the state have abandoned school. Same situation is said to apply to many other tertiary schools across the state.

Some students of the College of Agriculture, Gujba, who witnessed last week’s killings, are surely to abandon the school.

Yobe is among the states that are backward educationally and, with this sad development, the future of the children of the state is in jeopardy.

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